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Full text of "Mathematical And Physical Papers - Iii"

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dispersed light was separated by a prism from the light reflected from motes, it was found to consist of an exceedingly small quantity of red; further on some yellow began to enter into its composition ; further still, perhaps about the junction of the blue and indigo, the dispersed beam began to grow brighter, and was found on analysis to contain some green in addition to the former colours. In the indigo it got still brighter, and when viewed as a whole was somewhat greenish. Further still it became something of a pale slaty blue, and was found on analysis to contain some indigo, or at least highly refrangible blue. On proceeding further the dispersed light became first of a deeper blue and then, a little short of the fixed line H, whiter. At a considerable distance beyond H the dispersed light was if anything a shade more nearly white.
By this method of observation the dispersion can be detected earlier in the spectrum than by the third method, and moreover the change in the colour of the dispersed light is much more easily perceived; indeed the most striking part of this change takes place while the dispersed light is so very faint that it can hardly be seen in observing by the third method; moreover, even in the bright part of the dispersed beam, it is not at all easy by the latter method to make out the change of tint corresponding to a change in the refrangibility of the incident rays, because the tint changes so gradually and so slightly that the eye glides from one part of the dispersed beam to another without noticing any change.
20. It has been already mentioned that the blue beam of dispersed ligho seen in a solution of sulphate of quinine was produced whether the incident light was polarized in or perpendicularly to the plane of reflexion, or more properly plane of dispersion, that is, the plane containing the incident ray and that dispersed ray which enters the eye. A question naturally presents itself, whether the intensity of the dispersed light is strictly the same in the two cases. By combining a lens of rather short focus and a doubly refracting prism with the four prisms, I satisfied myself that the difference of intensity, if there were any, was not great, but the experiment presented some practical difficulties. However, the result of the following experiment appeared to be as decisive as a negative result could well be.